Networking and the six degrees of Kevin Bacon

This article was originally posted July 22, 2011 by the Huntsman School Blog.

In December, I’m planning on graduating, which means that really soon I’m going to have to start looking for a “big boy” job, where I have to wear slacks and a shirt with a collar. And maybe even a tie.

Obviously, I’ve been talking to some of my professors to get some of their insight on the industry. One professor said that less than 10% of his students come in for that kind of advising. One thing that comes up over and over is networking — who you know, and who they know.

There’s this idea that anybody on the planet, let’s say Kevin Bacon, can connect to anybody else on the planet, let’s say me, through at most six other people. It’s the ultimate networking game.

I have always hated looking for jobs. There’s just something about wading through job boards, filling out countless applications that all ask for the same information, and then not even hearing back from the company. And it’s even harder in a college town, where half the population are all competing for the same handful of jobs.

When I moved to Logan a couple of years ago, I had enough money saved so I could pay rent and buy food for three months. I didn’t have a job, and I had that long to find one. I had been keeping an eye out in the newspaper and on the USU job boards, and I got called back for quite a few interviews, but nothing seemed to work out. A week before school started one of my roommates said there was an opening at his job in Brigham City. So I interviewed and got the job.

Over the next year or so, I came to realize that 90% of the people working there knew someone. Not every applicant with a connection got a job, but it was obviously an influence.

As I think back on the various places I have worked, two-thirds of the jobs I’ve had came from networking.

So now that I’m going into the “real” world, I’m trying to talk to everyone I know for tips or suggestions on where to apply. My mom has a cousin (I say cousin, but I don’t actually know how we’re related) in Georgia who is very well-connected who said he’d let me know if he hears of any open positions.

Luckily for me, Kevin Bacon and I are only separated by one person. If only that could help me get a job in the business world.

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